Friday, March 30, 2007


Last night I dreamed that I was at Wrigley Field for a ball game, but the field was under water. The game went on without a hitch anyway. Since I've never seen a game there before (I've been there, but not for a game) I assumed that this was normal, and judging by all actions it was. The fielders were all standing on water, and fielding grounders and catching fly balls. Just another game at ol' Underwater Wrigley.

I'm not sure what this says about the Cubs chances this season, but when your fielders can walk on water it can't hurt.

I'm off to New York City to see Bloc Party perform tonight. Then its back home to Philly for the Sox/Phillies game tomorrow. Matsuzaka is taking the mound for the Sox. Which reminds me, the Boston Globe has their annual baseball preview section up on their site. Its worth checking out - just stay away from anything written by the poisonous fingers of the Curly Haired Boyfriend.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


Once again, its late. Or, uh, early. Its probably too either late or early to do the whole I'm-going-to-predict-the-results-of-the-upcoming-baseball-season any justice, but I'm gonna force myself to do this. That way, at the end of the season, it will be documented that I don't know what I'm talking about.

A quick note: I'm going to throw these predictions up here with the minimalist of comments. At least that way, people won't know why I predicted the equivalent of Anna Nicole Smith died of natural causes. Also, not that anyone would actually do this, but if you did add up all the game totals you won't get equal amounts of wins and loses. I picked the teams records based on how good I think they are going into the season, and, like me in tenth grade trying to do a simple problem, it probably doesn't add up correctly. Anyway...

So, without further ado:

AL East

1. Red Sox, 97-65
-People got all upset when Manny Ramirez peed in the Green Monster. I think peeing is really funny though, so I'm all for it. In fact, I think Manny should pee on more things, like pigeons, fire hydrants, and Mel Gibson.

2. Yankees, 93-69
-Not that this is a sign or anything, but yesterday at Chili's, A-Rod opted out of his chicken fajitas.

3. Blue Jays, 89-73
-Who knew such a high payroll could buy such irrelevance.

4. Orioles, 72-90
-Orioles fans can only hope Peter Angelos buys something else to screw up.

5. Devil Rays, 70-92
-Proof that in order to be a factor in the division, yes, in fact, you probably do need to get some pitching at some point.

AL Central

1. Indians, 90-72
-Indians division winning hopes rest on CC Sabathia's ability to eat other teams.

2. White Sox, 88-74
-Best thing about Scott Podsednik: his hustle when grounding out
-Worst thing about Scott Podsednik: his grounding out when he hustles

3. Twins, 87-75
-Sidney Ponson is coming to town! Hide the women and the doughnuts!

4. Tigers, 86-76
-At present rate of increase, Tigers expect to win 147 games this year.

5. Royals, 66-96
-At present rate of increase, Royals expect to suck donkey nut hair.

AL West

1. A’s, 86-76
-Its very lucky that when Mr. and Mrs. Harden named their child "Richard" they decided to go with "Rich" instead of "Dick" because "Dick Harden" is just too damn funny.

2. Rangers, 84-78
-Can you pitch? If so, Rangers want to give you $100 Million dollars!

3. Angels, 83-81
-In order to get back at city of Anaheim for not releasing them from their naming rights, Angels plan to rename themselves Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Sucks

4. Mariners, 73-89
-This team is the equivalent of a blind retarded guy with one leg. At least they have a nice stadium.

NL East

1. Phillies, 91-71
-Phillies GM Pat Gillick very happy to get rid of Bobby Abreu. Now, does anyone know anyone who can get on base, hit for power and play right field?

2. Mets, 88-74
-News flash: Omar Minaya offers contract to entire Dominican Republic!

3. Braves, 81-81
-Braves still tired from all that winning

4. Marlins, 68-94
-Due to lack of funding Marlins will be unable to convert Joe Robbie Stadium from its football setup to its baseball one. As a result, Miguel Cabrera will now play "30 yard line."

5. Nationals, 58-104
-More News: Nats give Ugeth Urbina 15 year deal.

NL Central

1. Cubs, 87-75
-After spending over $300 Million this off-season, Cubs planning on charging their fans for toilet paper. "You've gotta draw the line somewhere," says GM Jim Hendry. "Whats next? Free catsup?"

2. Astros, 83-81
-I would love to visit the former Enron Field in Houston, but that would require me visiting Houston, so its not gonna happen.

3. Brewers, 83-81
-I can see, sometime in the future, the Brewers becoming a bit like the Cubs. Their fans will show up whether they win or lose to drink, watch Bernie Brewer fall down, and hit each other with sausages.

4. Cardinals, 79-83
-Cardinals are stupid. I hate them.

5. Reds, 77-85
-Bronso Arroyo will a) win 25 games, b) develop a gyro ball, and c) give himself a purple mohawk.

6. Pirates, 56-106
-This team is another blind retarded guy with a nice stadium. Unfortunately, they also have a severe drooling problem. And bad gas.

NL West

1. Diamondbacks, 92-70
-Listen, it really doesn't matter what this team does as long as they're called the "diamondbacks" which is really the stupidest name in the entire universe. Until they come up with something else (how bout 'pantsless turtles?') I will ignore them.

2. Padres, 90-72
-Now, the Fathers. Thats cool. Also, they have vegetarian hot dogs at their park. And they're good too. I had to eat six of them before I got sick.

3. Dodgers, 89-73
-True story: Last 4th of July I attended a Dodgers game. After the game they shot off fireworks (duh!), but one of them must have mis-fired or something because it hit someone's car head on and the car blew up.

4. Giants, 81-81
-Kinda of funny that Barry Bonds plays for the Giants, isn't it? If anyone doesn't get it, check out this picture and compare it to this one.

5. Rockies, 73-89
-Who's stupid idea was it to put a major league team on top of a mountain? Come on, seriously. Fess up.

AL Playoffs
East: Boston
Central: Cleveland
West: Oakland
Wild Card: New York

Boston beats Oakland, 3-1
Cleveland beats New York, 3-2

Boston beats Cleveland, 4-2

NL Playoffs
East: Philadelphia
Central: Chicago Cubs
West: Arizona
Wild Card: San Diego

Arizona beats Chicago Cubs, 3-2
San Diego beats Philadelphia, 3-1

San Diego beats Arizona, 4-3

World Series
Boston beats San Diego, 4-3

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


It sure is late. I keep finding myself up at all hours of the morning, even though I know I have class (and soon, hopefully, a job) to get up for in the morning. Still, it doesn't seem to matter - I can't bring myself to sleep. Its not that theres something exciting on TV or that I have a ton of work to do, although I do.

Anyway, Red Sox... not much to report there, I suppose. The team is finishing up spring training and heading north. On the way they'll be stopping here in Philly for two games. I'll be up in New York City on Friday, so I won't be around for that one, but on Saturday Matsuzaka is supposed to start for Boston, and I'll be there wearing my "Damon throws like a girl" t-shirt. Gimme a "Go Sox!" if you see me.

Monday, March 26, 2007



I had the opportunity to catch part of Daisuke Matsuzaka(!)'s start today against the Cincinnati Reds. I was doing school work as well, so I did not pay super close attention, but I was impressed with what I saw. Matsuzaka! clearly did not have his best stuff. That was evident from his placement of the ball compared to where catcher Jason Varitek set up, and the expression on his face immediately following many of his pitches.

Despite that, Matsuzaka! was very effective. He did not allow a hit in five innings of work, striking out six and walking five. They say in spring training that the results don't matter, and that is certainly true. What did matter was that Matsuzaka !was facing the Reds opening day lineup, or at least very close to it, and not one player hit the ball hard off him all day long. The hardest hit ball was in the first inning. After walking Ryan Freel on five pitches to start the game, Matsuzaka! went 3-0 on Adam Dunn. Dunn got a fastball up and just outside the zone, and swung away. He hit a fly ball to left field that, were the wind not blowing in, might have made the outer edges of the warning track. But the wind was blowing in and the ball was caught in deep left field, about 15-20 feet shy of the track.

Matsuzaka! had trouble locating some of his pitches, which led to the five walks. Going forward, I don't see that as much of a problem, though. The five walks he issued today brought his total for the spring up to eight. That means in all his previous outings he had issued three walks total. I calculate Matsuzaka(!)'s spring ERA to be somewhere around 2.11 now (4 earned runs in 17 innings).

This wasn't a big start for Matsuzaka. Its the spring, he was facing an NL team, and Manny and Oritz weren't there. But its better to pitch well than not to.

Next Saturday I'm going to get chance to see his Matsuzaka!-ness up close and personal when the Red Sox make their annually inexplicable two game trip to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies. Yours truly will be in the upper deck, along with four or five other Red Sox fans, to cheer Matsuzaka! along. I'll try to get there early and take some pictures.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I checked the newspapers this morning and there were three different articles that included significant parts about Roger Clemens and which team he was going to pitch for this season. As everyone knows, Clemens is "undecided" about whether or not he is even going to pitch in 2007, let alone which team he will pitch for.

Nobody seems to take Clemens latest comments, that he is leaning "80%" towards retirement, very seriously. It seems pretty well established that he will pitch this season. The only question is who he will pitch for. The candidates are the same as last year:
  1. Clemens' hometown Houston Astros, with whom he has pitched for the past three seasons (2004-2006).
  2. The New York Yankees, with whom Clemens was with for five seasons (1999-2003), and last pitched for in 2003
  3. The Boston Red Sox, with whom Clemens was with for thirteen seasons (from 1984-1996), and the team he is most likely at this point to represent in the Hall of Fame.
Last season, Clemens reportedly had eliminated the Yankees from consideration and was very close to choosing the Red Sox, before deciding to return to Houston.

This season, like last, Clemens would improve all of the above teams. The Astros probably need him the most, though it is questionable whether or not Clemens would be able to pull the team into the playoffs again. The Astros hitting is not looking promising, and with Brad Lidge getting lit up (again) this Spring Training, the bullpen may not be the strength that it was in seasons past.

Further, the Astros lost Andy Pettitte to the Yankees this past off-season, and after Roy Oswalt, their rotation looks weaker than in recent years. Clemens can have the largest impact in Houston by coming in as the team's best or second best starter. The Astros playoff hopes are seemingly pinned on Clemens returning to his hometown for another season.

On paper, the Yankees don't need Clemens nearly as much as Houston does. Thats not to say they wouldn't be able to put him to good use though. With Pettitte returning, the re-signing of Mike Mussina, and the talented yet confusing (how can a guy pitch so well without striking anyone out?!?) Chien-Ming Wang, the Yankees rotation goes five deep.

That said, cracks are already starting to form. Kei Igawa, a talented pitcher whom the Yankees brought over from Japan, has had problems this spring.** Due to a small muscle tear, Wang will start the season on the disabled list. Pettitte was shut down recently because of back spasms. Mussina is 38 years old, and is at risk to get hurt at some point this season. Carl Pavano, who hasn't pitched real innings in two seasons, is now slated to be the Yankees opening day starter. This is partially because of timing and availability, but it also speaks to the tenuous state of the starting rotation in New York.

Adding Clemens would, assuming health in the rotation, allow the Yankees to either make a trade, or move someone to the bullpen. But it's entirely possible that Clemens could simply replace an injured pitcher. The Yankees have five good-to-decent starters, but there are health (Pettite, Wang, Mussina, Pavano) and quality (Pavano, Igawa) concerns for each. Clemens has neither concern, and as such, would be a big pickup for New York. In the middle of the season Clemens could be the final piece to the puzzle in New York.

Up until recently (as in two days ago), the Red Sox had one of the deepest rotations in all of baseball. It featured Curt Schilling, Daiske Matsuzaka, Josh Beckett, Jon Papelbon, and Tim Wakefield. But, with the recent move of Papelbon to the bullpen, Wakefield moves up to the #4 spot, and Julian Tavarez moves from the bullpen into the #5 spot. Wakefield may have been the best fifth starter in baseball, but he definitely isn't the best fourth starter, and Tavarez may be one of the worst fifth starters in baseball. While moving Papelbon may have been necessary, it opened up a huge hole in the rotation.

The Red Sox do have other options. Lefty John Lester is recovering well from the cancer he was diagnosed with at the end of last season. He has been throwing well in Spring Training and looks like he will start the season with AAA Pawtucket as their #1 starter. If he does well, he could earn a call-up to the Red Sox within a month. Other options include Devern "The Sack" Hansack, another young pitcher who is scheduled to begin the season at AAA. Hansack has pitched very well this spring, throwing three scoreless innings yesterday against Baltimore.

Still, for a team looking to win this season, Clemens would be preferable to Lester or "The Sack." Boston is the only team of the three where, as things stand today, Clemens would not be responsible for "fixing" the rotation single-handedly. He could slot in somewhere between #2 and #4, and with comparatively minimal pressure.

There is also the history angle. Clemens currently co-holds the Red Sox team record for wins with Cy Young (192). Boston is the team he came up with, and the organization he was with for 14 years. He maintains relationships with friends in Boston to this day, and was reportedly very moved by the way the Red Sox went after him before last season. All things being equal, it is likely that Clemens would chose to end his career where he began it.

But all things won't be equal, and my guess is Clemens will make his decision based on three things: 1) how much money he is offered, 2) where the teams are in the standings/what their post season chances look like at the time, and 3) other intangible elements, such as how close to home he'll be, what perks the teams are willing to let him have, how much he values returning to Boston or New York, etc.

The only thing for certain is that all by himself Clemens can move the balance of power in the American League East. If he wants to. Its going to be interesting.

**I have noticed in the articles about Igawa and Matsuzaka, both pitchers have remarked that when they get their pitches up in the zone they get blasted. This is not a surprise to me - its true of pretty much every major league pitcher - but it clearly is a surprise to them. This makes me think that one of the differences between American and Japanese baseball is the talent to hit balls up in the zone. When a batter swings at a fastball up and makes contact he will often hit it a long way. Even as a lousy batter in high school, I knew that one way to elevate the ball, which I was not strong enough to do on my own, was to hit balls up in the zone. Apparently, in Japan one can get away with throwing balls up in the zone, whereas in the majors, those balls get crushed. Matsuzaka and Igawa are learning this now. The question is how much do they depend on throwing high strikes to get outs.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Georgetown's Jeff Green shoots over Vanderbilt's Ross Neltner during the second half of their NCAA East Regional basketball game Friday, March 23, 2007 in East Rutherford, N.J. Georgetown won 66-65. (Caption & Photo stolen from AP/Winslow Townson)

Columnist Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post has a doozy up today. And by "doozy" I mean a piece of crap with many inaccuracies which I will detail below.

Just a note: I sent this to the fine folks at Fire Joe Morgan, so if they post all or part of this, that is more than fine with me.

But first, allow me to set the stage. Georgetown and Vanderbilt Universities are playing a basketball game to see who will get to be in the final 8 of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament. With about 16 seconds left Vanderbilt scores a basket and is up by one point. Georgetown gets the ball. After a timeout, they bring the ball in bounds and pass it around a bit. The time is winding down and they pass it to their best player who has yet to foul out, Jeff Green. Jeff Green gets the ball, dribbles it a bit. Then spins around and, with 2.5 seconds left in the game, shoots the ball into the basket. Georgetown wins.

So, now, here is Jenkins' column from the Washington Post:

The Vanderbilt defenders were so thickly crowded around Jeff Green that only a gray-clad shoulder was visible.

When Jenkins says "gray-clad shoulder" she is referring to the fact that many Georgetown players wear their jerseys over gray t-shirts. The "gray-clad shoulder" part is Jeff Green's gray t-shirt peaking out beneath his jersey. Now here's why this is lousy journalism: Yesterday, Green didn't wear a t-shirt under his jersey. His shoulders were bare, not "gray-clad" at all. This, in my humble opine, is piss-poor. It took me under five minutes of searching to verify my belief that Jenkins was full of crap. Thats five minutes Jenkins clearly didn't spend, otherwise she wouldn't have written the above line as the FIRST LINE IN HER COLUMN. A photo of Jeff Green last night is above. He clearly isn't wearing a t-shirt.

As Green rose in the air and put the final shot up, his body seemed to perfectly express what it means to be clutch -- the responsibility of it, and the weight of it -- as players hung all over him.

I have no idea what this means. All I know is it's pretty barfy sounding.

This is what it means to be clutch: You still kiss it off the glass, with three guys doing your laundry right on your back.

Ignoring the vaguely stupid laundry comment, it was a great job by Green to take the team on his back blah blah blah and win the game in the final seconds. Except for one thing: he traveled. I mean, he really obviously traveled. While standing with the ball, he established his right foot as his pivot foot, and then after waiving his left foot all over the place, he takes a step with the right. The rules say you can't do that. Its called traveling with the ball, and when you do it you forfeit your rights to the ball. The ball goes to the other team, and in this case, with 2.5 seconds remaining on the clock, and Vanderbilt winning the game by one point, it means that Green and all his holy clutchness just lost the game for his team.

Yet somehow, Jenkins goes through her whole column without mentioning this. For anyone who watched it, even the muttonheads at CBS caught it. They went through the tape just following the game and it clearly showed Green moving his pivot foot before releasing the ball. I mean, it was obvious.

The Washington Post's Mike Wise, in his (over-done fanboy) column published the same day, actually addresses the topic:

There were cries that Green had not reestablished his pivot foot, and therefore traveled. But basketball minds much wiser than us surmised you can't make a call like that to end a taut thriller.

Who are theses smarter basketball minds? Clearly they don't have a problem with things like "rules." How much time is on the clock? Under a minute? OK, everyone, no more "rules." Apparently its clock-dependent system, like the NFL video replay rule. Except in college basketball, if there is under a minute remaining in the game, instead of all plays being reviewed, all rules disappear. Players are allowed to do whatever they want.

I'm not making this up! Check out the NCAA rulebook, rule 25.164.23-R:

Should the score of a game be close (see rule 3.243-Z for definition of "close) and less than one minute of time remain on the gameclock (see rule 8.5765-P-F for definition of "gameclock") all rules are null and void.

OK, I was making it up. This doesn't stop Jenkins, who, unfortunately, continues:

The final sequence went like this: Green regained control of the ball, found a slit between Foster and Neltner, spun and exploded upward. He one-armed the ball toward the basket, and banked it off the glass.

Ha ha! Silly Washington Post editors. I bet Jenkins is going to have a few words with you after she sees her column in print. With some google searching and some password guessing I was able to find Jenkins' column in its original and complete form. What she really wrote was this:

The final sequence went like this: Green regained control of the ball, found a slit between Foster and Neltner, spun, took two steps without dribbling the ball, should have been called for traveling, therefore losing the game for his team, and exploded upward. He one-armed the ball toward the basket, and banked it off the glass. My editors are stupid poopy-butts with no sense of humor and small penises.

The clutch player simply finds a way to make the ball go in. As the shot dropped, and the final seconds expired, the Georgetown players surrounded their clutch player for a mass hug. One thing about the clutch player: His teammates appreciate him for who he is.

Unlike other players who are not appreciated for who they are. Like Patrick Ewing, Jr. who is appreciated for being Patrick Ewing. Or Jesse Sapp, who is appreciated for being Warren Sapp. Or DaJuan Summers who is appreciated for being Zor, God of Thunder, King of All Booty.


The first serious injury of the 2007 baseball season (that I'm aware of) has happened. Chien-Ming Wang has pulled a muscle and will spend the first month of the season on the disabled list. This is not the major blow to the Yankees pennant chances that it might seem, but it sure doesn't help their cause. Wang was likely to be named the opening day starter, an honor he earned by being the most valuable pitcher for the Yankees last season.

By missing a month of the season Wang is likely to miss about four starts. Those starts will be transfered to another pitcher, likely Jeffrey Karstens or Darrel Rasner. Both pitchers have thrown very well this spring. Rasner has a 1.50 ERA in 12.0 innings pitched, while Karstens has a 2.70 ERA in 13.1 innings. Those are terrific numbers to be sure, but they are against spring competition, so its difficult to discern without looking into them more how meaningful they are. Instead of delving into the numbers, I'll fall back on Baseball Prospectus and their PECOTA projections for these guys. Here they are:

Karstens: 5.49 ERA in 139.2 innings
Rasner: 5.02 ERA in 104 innings

So, depending on how you value spring training performance you could say the Yankees are in good shape with both Karstens and Rasner available to pick up Wang's slack. But if you look at BP's projections, you get a decidedly different picture. Teams that are attempting to win their division usually try to avoid giving many starts to pitchers with over 5 run ERAs.

Just for some perspective, Wang has a 2.57 ERA in 14.0 innings this spring. BP says he'll have a 4.31 ERA in 182 innings pitched.

Even if Wang does pitch like PECOTA says he will, there is a serious drop off in quality for the Yankees. We'll have to see how they do in the four games Wang misses. Maybe it won't end up mattering. After all, the Red Sox and Blue Jays will likely have injuries to their starters to deal with at some point as well.

Just a few days ago we thought the rotations for the Red Sox and Yankees were all set, and just 8 days before opening day cracks in the armor are starting to show.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Job interviews and school crap are taking up my time, but I did manage to catch the Red Sox trading their 4th starter for a closer. For those of you living in a hole, ex-All-Star closer Jonathon Papelbon is moving back to the closer role. Heres a quick look at what this does:
  1. Improves the bullpen: This moves everyone currently in the bullpen back a notch, which should, at least in theory, improve the over-all quality of the pen. Not that it was that great a pen to start with, in my humble opinion, but this definitely is a step up for the weakest part of the '07 Sox.
  2. Worsens (is that a word?) the Rotation: Taking Papelbon in the bullpen has the same domino effect on the rotation, except in reverse. The question is, do the Red Sox have the horses to cover his loss in the rotation? I don't think for a minute that Tavarez is the long term solution. Hopefully, Lester or Hansack pitches very well in AAA and forces a move up to Boston. The darkhorse here is Kyle Snyder.
  3. Makes Papelbon Happy: This is likely to become an incredibly over-stated point of the move in the media. Its not that I don't care if Papelbon is happy - I do. Very unscientifically, happy players are more likely to perform better. But, if having him in the rotation is more valuable to the team, then that's where I'd put him regardless of what his wishes are. I'm sure if he performed well there he'd be happy. Of course that is now a moot point.
Overall, this can be a good move if two things happen:
  1. Papelbon stays healthy and effective - remember, its no sure thing he reprises his role as Mariano Rivera-esque closer.
  2. The team can find other players to adequately replace the difference in innings that Papelbon would have contributed to the team via the rotation.
I figure they'll have to get about 100 innings from other pitchers now (170 innings a starter minus 70 innings as closer = 100 innings difference). Depending on the quality of those 100 innings this could turn out to be a very expensive move.

I'm one of those people who thinks the value of a closer isn't 1/2 that of a quality starter. But, the team needed a relief ace badly, so this does solve that problem. But, does solving this problem create a larger one elsewhere? Thats what I'm worried about.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


So, it used to be that, way back in the day, before blogging, computers, the inter-web or dinosaurs, there was a player on the Red Sox named "Trot Nixon." Whenever ol' Trot would come to bat, or run out onto the field, or indeed show is face on television, I would be prompted, to the dismay of my fiancé, to shout out "My man TROT!" as loudly as possible with special emphasis on the "trot" part (thus the caps). When slurred together correctly, the phrase sounds more like "MamanTROT!"

Well, as some of you may have noticed by now, Trot no longer resides with the Red Sox. I hold no malice towards ol' Trot. Indeed, I remain a devoted fan. There will come a time, cursed though it may be, that ol' Trot actually takes up bat and glove against the Red Sox. I have yet to invest the emotional energy necessary to fully comprehend this moment, and as such, I can say confidently that I have no idea what I'll do.

My more pressing concern is finding another Red Sox (Red Sock?) to fulfill this tradition. I can't very well call out the name of an opposing player, which Trot very much is now (at least until his triumphant return). So, I need someone else's name to obsessively yell. Who will it be? Who will be the next poster-child for moronic Red Sox-based over-decibeled repetitive blather?

Well, it was two weeks ago when the answer struck me in the form of an actual baseball. I was standing on the railing down the right field line of Brighthouse Networks Field in Clearwater, Florida watching the Red Sox take batting practice. It was a balmy 75 degrees out on a partly cloudy day and I was wearing my old beat up replica 1946 Red Sox hat - the one with the huge crease in it from being squozen when Mienky caught the ball underhanded to him by Foulke. One of the Red Sox players was covering right field at the time, gathering up the batted balls and tossing them into a white bucket. Someone was in the batters box hitting line drives. One of the balls was hit in the air between where I was in the stands and where the player was. He loped over to catch it, and while he was waiting for the ball to drop, I noticed who it was. It was Manny! No, not that Manny. Manny Delcarmen, the relief pitcher. The guy who grew up a Red Sox fan and dreamed of playing for the Sox. The guy who was burning up the minors when he blew his arm out and had to have Tommy John surgery. The guy who came back from that surgery to make it up to majors and fulfill his dream.

So, long story slightly shortened, Manny caught the ball and I yelled, "Hey, Manny!" and held out my glove. Yes, I'm that old guy who brings his glove to games. Deal with it. So, Manny looks at me, smiles, and throws the ball to me. I can still see it coming at me. Manny can throw upper nineties if he wants to, but this was a lazy Sunday toss. Now, I played a lot of ball in high school and a very little bit in college, so I can catch a ball when someone throws it to me (hitting it is another matter and I'd rather not talk about it). That said, sometimes the hardest plays are the ones you have time to think about, and this ball was moving in slow motion.

Fortunately, I did manage to catch it, at which point I made a weak-sounding very un-manly noise, something from deep within. Maybe it was glee, maybe I had to use the restroom.

I may have been able to play catch, but I was never cut out to be a major leaguer. Still, that moment when Manny threw me the ball was a memory that will last as long as I live, and likely longer than the ball (now where did I put it again?).

So, thanks, Manny, and how do you like the sound of MamanMANNY!


Well, its a new season, I've got new VD, so its time for a new design here at Fenway Park Effects, or FPE as the kids like to call it. Our crack staff of crack smokers has been up all night smoking crack, and this is what they came up with (read: found on the internet). Thanks to Carrie Petri for the design.

In other news, Johnny Demon thinks his team is the best ever. Yay! Also, in the same article Jason Giambi says that he and Demon the "two idiots" are keeping the clubhouse loose. Good luck with that, steroid boy.

In Red Sox news, my man Manny Delcarmen is worried about making the team. Some advice from someone who hasn't been there and never will be: Don't worry about it, Manny. Just go out there and pitch. Remember, you da man, Manny, you da man.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Regardless of what the Canadians say, for the foreseeable future the AL East race will be between the two $150 Million plus behemoths, Boston and New York. Always an interesting case study in management ineptitude, the Yankees have recently righted their ship and seem to be stocking their farm system with powerful arms and young talented bats. I can't remember the last time the Yankee farm system was this good. Probably hasn't happened in my lifetime, and I'm 30, so that says something.

The Yankee system was pretty barren through the 90s and into this century. The idea was always to win now, no matter if that was feasible or not, even though it often was. But now NY has Jose Tabata, an 18 year old total stud with the bat, and Phil Hughes who, despite his spring is likely the best pitching prospect the game has seen in a few years. For you young Sox fans out there, Hughes grew up a huge Red Sox fan, so remember, if NY drafts you out of college and offers you several million to play for them, tell them 'no way.'

The fact that NY has such well thought of names in the pipeline should scare any Red Sox fan. The sleeping giant has awoken. Almost, anyway. Whether Hughes and Tabata ever amount to anything is hardly even the point. If they don't someone else will, and likely soon. No more laughing at the Yankees for wasting $40 Million on Carl Pavano, or giving $20 Million to Jaret Wright because there wasn't anyone else available and they needed someone. The idea of bringing up your own players is that not only do you get to pay far less for the same quality before players can hit free agency, but you can similarly avoid over-paying for someone else's mediocrity. Like Carl Pavano, or Jaret Wright, or might I add, Edgar Renteria.

Fortunately, just in time the Red Sox seem to be in the midst of a mini-youth movement as well. They don't seem to have the high ceiling guys that I keep hearing NY has, but players like Dustin Pedroia, Jon Papelbon, and even to a lesser extent David Murphy and Brandon Moss will give Boston the flexibility to either play their guys, or trade them and sign someone presumably better.

The rivalry is stocked, my friends, just as these two teams are getting old and brittle (take a look at Jason Giambi's knees and the Red Sox past August if you don't believe me) an injection of youth awaits just around the corner. I'm looking forward to it.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Papelbon: starter or closer?

The Sox played their game today with Jon Papelbon throwing some good innings and giving up a homer to someone he probably shouldn't have. I didn't see the game, unfortunately, but Papelbon's change from super-closer to starter is very interesting. There seems to me to be very little precedent for such a move in the recent past. Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals is attempting to make the same move, though he was no where near as dominating as Papelbon was last season. Still, I can recall no pitcher having experienced the success that Papelbon did last season immediately switching to starting the following season

It seems obvious that a good starter, a guy who throws 200 innings with a 3.50 ERA, say, is more valuable to a team than a top-flight closer, even one as good as Papelbon was last season. The same goes for Mariano Rivera, who has been almost unhittable since moving into the closers roll just before the end of the past century. Because the baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint, one would think that the long and steady (the starter) would win the race over the short and fast (the closer).

That being the case, I wonder why Rivera, a guy who is as good a pitcher over the past decade as there has been when he's pitched, has never tried to transition back to a starters roll. Its not like the Yankees haven't needed a good starter in the last ten years. Rivera could have been, had he been successful, the guy who put the team over the top in 2001 and 2003. Likely, the Yankees were thinking that you don't mess with success, even if that success is less valuable to the team.

Rivera is undoubtedly a Hall of Fame pitcher, so its hard to call the Yankees out on his usage. Still, one wonders, if Papelbon can make the transition from closer in college, to starter in the minors, to all-star closer as a rookie, and then back to starter, maybe the Yankees insistence on keeping Rivera in the closers roll has been a mistake.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

New Season = New Post!

Its been forever since I've jotted down in this space, but it doesn't really matter much since nobody reads it. Heck, even I don't read the crap I'm spewing here. Which is fine in a way, since I'm so super busy, far too super busy to write here on a regular basis. I love it when people tell you how amazingly busy they are. Everyone is so so so busy they couldn't possibly ever have time for anything.

So, a new Red Sox season is upon us, and for the first time ever I made it down to Spring Training in Fort Myers. I caught Sox games in Clearwater against the Phils, Lakeland against the Tigers and Fort Myers against the Blue Jays. I had the honor of watching...
1) Papi homer over my head into a drainage ditch filled with at least one alligator (Yikes!).
2) A "fight" between the Red Sox and Tigers when Magglio Ordonez was so fooled by a Josh Beckett curveball that he leaned out over the plate to escape what he was sure was a fastball at his head. By doing that he put his head directly in the path of the pitch, which doinked off his noggin. I haven't seen a big league hitter fooled so badly in person before, but Tigers manager Leyland didn't take that into account when he ordered (presumably) Todd Jones (of the East Side Joneses) to throw at JD Drew. Jones threw one behind Drew on the first pitch and another on the second. Thats when the home plate umpire ran him. Leyland didn't like that. Boo hoo.
3) Two triples in two days. Normally, I'm lucky if I see one a year. The first was authored by JD Drew who looked like a gamer to me as he was motoring around the bases, and the second was crushed by the soon-to-be-resurgent Coco Crisp who lined one into the gap and off the wall so hard that it was a miracle he was able to beat the throw to third.

The moral of the story is I highly recommend checking out Spring Training to anyone who is considering it.

The picture above is of a kid who decided that it would be fun to throw grass on me. He wasn't stealthy enough to avoid laughing after two handfuls were on my head, however.

Ya know, this was kinda fun. Maybe I'll start doing it again. But I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.

Go Sox!